MONTGOMERY – the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) encourages all Alabamians to join in this year’s observance of Arbor Week, which runs from Monday, Feb.19 to Sunday, Feb. 25. Proclamations, tree plantings and seedling distributions will mark the week for most all the 82 communities recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation across the State of Alabama. These plantings will add to the estimated 240 million urban trees that daily clean our air, purify our water and protect our soils.
The City of Cullman’s annual Tree-City Flag Raising Ceremony will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22 on the front lawn of city hall. On that same day, the annual Arbor Day Tree Sale will be held at the Cullman County Extension Office from 8 a.m. until noon (or until all trees are gone).
“Trees provide a multitude of environmental, economic, and social benefits to Alabama citizens and their neighborhoods,” said Alabama’s State Forester Rick Oates. “We invite families across the state to take part in this celebration and share the joy of planting trees in their communities.”
National Arbor Day, observed in all 50 states and throughout the world on the last Friday in April, April 27 this year, finds its roots in Nebraska. The idea was conceived and the name ‘Arbor Day’ proposed by J. Sterling Morton in 1872, who later became the US Secretary of Agriculture. The idea caught on, and over one million trees were planted that first year. Other states followed suit and, in 1887, Alabama Governor Thomas Seay signed the state’s first Arbor Day Proclamation. The tradition of a governor’s proclamation continued in Alabama until 1975 when the Birmingham Beautification Board, the State Garden Club, the AFC, and the State Board of Education collaborated with the State Legislature to pass a legislative act designating the last full week in February as ‘Arbor Week,’ a time more conducive for planting trees in the deep South.
Everyone in Alabama is encouraged to plant a tree during Arbor Week. Information on selecting the right tree for the right place may be found on the AFC website at www.forestry.alabama.gov or on the ArborDay.org website. The mission of the Alabama Forestry Commission is to protect and sustain Alabama’s forest resources using professionally applied stewardship principals and education, ensuring that the state’s forests contribute to abundant timber and wildlife, clean air and water and a healthy economy.